English is planned using the National Curriculum 2014 and is taught daily. Many lessons involve shared reading or writing with the whole class and a focus on words and/or grammar.
Children are encouraged to speak confidently and to listen to what others say and to adapt their speech to suit different purposes and audiences. Children’s vocabulary is extended through their work in all areas of the curriculum. Reading is taught in whole class sessions, in groups and individually. Children are taught the strategies to help them read with accuracy, fluency and understanding. They are encouraged to read for pleasure but are also taught how to locate and use information and to use their reading skills to enhance learning in other areas. There is a wide variety of literature and information texts available in the school.
Children are encouraged to write confidently and independently. They are taught spelling strategies and are encouraged to spell and punctuate their work correctly and to follow grammatical conventions. Children write creatively and factually for different purposes and audiences throughout the curriculum. They are taught how to plan, organise and review their writing and high standards of presentation are encouraged. Handwriting is taught separately with joined up writing being taught once correct letter formation is established.
Reading and Phonics
At Redland Primary School we are passionate about teaching children to read. Reading helps develop children’s vocabulary, their writing and their spelling. Reading gives children access to the wider curriculum and enriches their language and experiences. It is our intention that all children leave the school as confident and competent readers.
We acknowledge that each child’s reading journey begins before they start school. In EYFS and KS1 phonics is a key focus of our teaching and children are introduced to this using our new phonics scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools. It provides a complete teaching programme meeting all the expectations of the National Curriculum and prepares the children to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check. Children are given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned in whole class sessions to reading fully decodable books in small reading groups. The phonic progression in these books match the progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
• prosody – reading with meaning, stress and intonation
• comprehension – understanding the text.
There is an excellent parent information section on the Little Wandle website which will help support children with saying sounds and writing letters at home. There are also some useful videos so parents can see how the children are taught at school and give confidence when supporting with reading at home. Find the full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview here to see what the children will learn and when.
Supporting children with reading at home
Although the children will be taught to read at school, parents have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.
In EYFS and KS1 there are two types of reading book that the children will bring home:
A reading practice book. This will be matched to the correct phonic stage for the child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
A sharing book. This is an exciting book that the child will have chosen from our library at school. This book is to be read and enjoyed together.
Reading practice book
This book has been carefully matched to the child’s current reading level. Children should need little help to read these books, please don’t worry that they appear too easy – the books help the children to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
In order to encourage a reading culture and life long readers, it is important that the children learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book to bring home and enjoy together. The children are not expected to read this book on their own but to talk about the pictures and the story and enjoy making predictions and using different voices for the characters.
From KS2, when the children have secured their phonics learning and are confident readers they will move onto free reader reading books where they will choose an exciting book from our school library to take home.
Reading throughout the school
Reading for meaning is vital at every stage of learning to read and this continues to be a significant focus throughout the school. Once children can read independently comprehension becomes a vital component of many reading sessions and English activities.
At Redland reading is taught in whole class reading sessions and guided group sessions. The whole class reading texts are linked to the topics and support the children with reading progression. Children also read individually to practice and refine their skills. Alongside phonic knowledge and skills children are taught to use a range of decoding strategies. These include using the context to make sure any word fits in the text. Children are also taught how to use the punctuation and other reading cues to make the best use of voice inflection and expression.
As a school we encourage all our pupils to read both in school and at home. Sharing books is a proven method of helping children develop as readers. Parents are given opportunities to attend reading and phonics workshops in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 where they are given ideas and ways to help and support children at home.